USA and the UK
- What is Dual Citizenship?
- Benefits of Dual Citizenship
- Disadvantages of Dual Citizenship
- British-American Dual Citizenship
- How to Obtain British-American Dual Citizenship
- British-American Dual Citizenship Eligibility
- How can you apply for British-American Dual Citizenship?
- Tax Obligation as a British-American Dual Citizen
- Traveling as a British-American Dual Citizen
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship, also called dual nationality, is when a person is a citizen of two countries concurrently. An individual with dual citizenship enjoys the same benefits as citizens of either country while they are there.
Usually, a person with dual citizenship is born with one country’s citizenship and later obtains another nationality by choice. Another way to get dual citizenship is through marriage, ancestry or naturalization. Dual citizenship has advantages and disadvantages because it is a complex legal status.
One of the greatest benefits of dual citizenship is the ability of an individual to have two passports. However, one of the inevitable downsides of dual citizenship is double taxation.
Also not all countries allow dual citizenship. Some countries might require you to give up your original passport before obtaining theirs. Hence, seeking expert advice before applying for dual nationality is highly encouraged so that you are aware of the possible long-term consequences.
Benefits of Dual Citizenship
Having dual citizenship offers benefits including:
- Right to retain pensions in each country
- Ability to rent or buy a home or assets in either country
- The right to work without requiring a work permit or visa
- Access to more business and job opportunities
- Ease of travel between both borders without restrictions or time limits
- Broader political influence
Disadvantages of Dual Citizenship
Even though dual citizenship has numerous benefits, there are also disadvantages such as:
- You may be required to pay taxes on your income coming from both countries.
- You may be entitled to little or no diplomatic assistance from either country when you are in the other country where you hold citizenship.
- You could need to have a separate credit rating in both countries.
- There may not be reciprocity between the two countries for driving licenses and other important certifications
British-American Dual Citizenship
Both the US and the UK permit dual citizenship. A British citizen who wishes to obtain dual citizenship does not need to apply for dual citizenship. You can apply for American citizenship and retain your British citizenship.
If you are a US citizen and wish to gain British citizenship, you must follow the applicable process for obtaining it. Permission to remain in the UK is a requirement before being granted British citizenship.
When your dual nationality is approved, you are eligible to obtain a British/American passport. You should note that when you hold more than one passport as a dual citizen, you are obligated to file taxes in both countries.
How to Obtain British-American Dual Citizenship
There are different ways to obtain dual citizenship such as birth, naturalization or ancestry. In both the UK and the US you cannot automatically become a citizen through marriage and must apply for the respective citizenship status.
If you are an American who marries a British citizen, you will need to apply for UK citizenship as the spouse of the British citizen. Likewise, a British citizen who marries an American citizen will need to naturalize as an American citizen to qualify for dual citizenship.
Before applying as the spouse of a British citizen, you must have lived in the UK for three years. You’ll also need Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
In addition, you do not automatically get British citizenship if you were born in the UK. Getting automatic British citizenship by birth is only possible at the time you were born and in your parents’ circumstances.
British-American Dual Citizenship Eligibility
Your application for dual citizenship as a British national will only be approved in the following instances:
- You are naturalizing as a citizen of the United States and retaining your citizenship of a foreign country.
- You retain nationality in your origin country after naturalizing as an American citizen.
- You were born outside of the United States, and one or both of your parents are American nationals, based on the laws of the foreign country.
- You were born in the United States of America, and one or both of your parents are nationals of other countries.
As an American national, you are eligible to apply for British citizenship based on your circumstances.
If you do not qualify for British citizenship through their parents or ancestry, the general way to become a British citizen is to follow the ILR. This involves obtaining the correct visa and, in most cases, living in the UK for five years. Once ILR status is granted, you must then reside in the country for a further 12 months to then apply for British citizenship.
Other citizenship eligibility statuses include:
- Having a parent with British overseas territory citizenship
- Having another type of British nationality
- Being stateless
- Being a Chagossian descendant – a direct descendant of someone born in the British Indian Ocean Territory
- You previously renounced your citizenship
How can you apply for British-American Dual Citizenship?
There is no set application form just for applying for dual citizenship and you will need to apply using the same process as anyone else applying for US citizenship. Before you apply as a British national, you must ensure that you satisfy all naturalization requirements. An exception is if you qualify for American citizenship through a parent.
You can then start the naturalization application process by submitting Form N-400, formally known as “Application for Naturalization,” to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Below are the documents that must be submitted with the N-400:
- A photocopy of both sides of your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as the Alien Registration Card or “Green Card”)
- A check or money order for the application fee and the biometric services fee
- Two identical color photographs
After submitting and paying the application fee of $725 (plus the biometric fee), an interview will be scheduled. You will receive a decision on your application shortly after the interview has taken place.
The application process for US citizenship can be very challenging and you may feel overwhelmed. It is advisable to seek the assistance of an immigration expert to help you with the application process. Contact IAS today at +1 844 290 6312 or contact us online for immediate assistance.
In accordance with US tax policy, American citizens will be taxed even if they never lived in America or earned no income in the US. What this means is that regardless of where you live, once you become an American citizen, you must pay taxes.
There are rules for American citizenship, and you must understand how you qualify as a dual citizen to avoid severe penalties if you do not meet your tax obligations. In general, you will automatically be considered an American citizen if either of the following applies to you:
- You were born in America, regardless of your parents’ citizenship status.
- At the time of your birth, at least one of your parents was an American citizen.
Hence, as an American citizen, you are required to file an annual tax return, irrespective of where you live. You must also report your worldwide income in your annual return filing.
Unlike the US, the UK only imposes taxes when you live there. You will be taxed by the UK government if
- You reside in the UK and/or
- Your income comes from the UK
As most employees’ taxes are withheld by their employers through the UK’s Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, a UK tax return must be filed only if you the following applied during the tax year:
- You earn £100,000 or more
- You were self-employed as a sole trader and earned more than £1,000
- You were a partner in a business partnership
You can also file a tax return if you have any untaxed income, like money from renting out a property, donations to charity, income from savings, investments and dividends.
What is Double Taxation?
Double taxation occurs when the same income is taxed twice. Since British-American dual citizenship requires tax return filing, you may be at risk of double taxation.
For instance, if you are a British-American dual citizen working in the UK for a British employer, you will pay UK taxes. In addition, your worldwide income earnings – including the UK source income that has already been taxed by the British government – could be eligible to be also taxed by the US government.
However, the UK and the US have agreed to a tax treaty to nullify each country’s income tax laws. This means have to pay tax twice on the same income. The following types of income are covered by the double taxation agreement:
- Interest from banks and building societies
- UK dividends
- Most work pensions
Who is an Accidental American?
An accidental American is an individual who is considered an American citizen but does not feel connected to the USA. This is usually because they have lived and worked in another country their entire lives.
Another possibility is that they may have been born in America while their UK parents were on vacation or employed there. You must understand that if you were born in the United States or have at least one US parent, you may be considered a British-American dual citizen.
Accidental Americans living outside of the US are unaware of the US tax obligations linked to their American citizenship until they have issues, such as opening a non-US bank account with their status as an American citizen.
Some accidental Americans could face substantial civil penalties and criminal persecution if they fail to meet income tax and reporting requirements. To avoid this situation, you must either verify that you do not have any outstanding tax obligation or catch up on your US taxes – this can be done via the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures. These help American dual citizens comply with their US tax filing to reduce any potential penalties.
Traveling as a British-American Dual Citizen
There can be disadvantages to holding two passports when traveling abroad. As a dual citizen, you should note that the British government cannot grant you diplomatic help when you are in the country where you hold citizenship.
What this means is that if you encounter any difficulties while in the U.S., the UK government may not be able to help you. You are required to gain assistance directly from the U.S. since you are regarded as a citizen.
In the same vein, the American authorities have limited consular assistance that can be provided when you are in the country that you’re a citizen of, especially if you did not use your U.S. passport to enter the country.
Additionally, the U.S. government has made it mandatory that when entering or leaving the U.S., you have to use your American passport.
The ideal time to obtain dual citizenship is now, as the rules currently allow for British-American dual citizenship without having to lose one nationality to obtain the other.
Before you can obtain a second citizenship, you must know your present immigration status for a successful application. Going through all these alone can be overwhelming and challenging. Therefore, you should consider seeking expert immigration advice.
IAS is here to help you with whatever challenges you are facing in your application process. We will assist you in ensuring you meet the requirements, fine-tune your documents, and make your application seamless.
If you’re attempting to start your dual citizenship process but are unclear about where to begin, we are here to guide you on what to do. We will consider your unique situation and ensure your documents meet the requirements of the immigration law.
Our lawyers are experts in this field and are ready to give you clear and reliable professional advice on your immigration matters. Call us today at +1 844 290 6312 or get in touch with us via our online contact form to see how we can help you.
Last modified on June 15th, 2023 at 10:04 am
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Yes, you can. However, it requires careful thought. You should note that renouncing your American citizenship is irreversible.
On the other hand, you can reapply for British citizenship if you renounce your status. However, your right to live in the UK during the renouncement period will be affected.
In most cases, people usually renounce their citizenship if they want to become citizens of another country that doesn’t allow dual citizenship.
The first thing you need to be aware of before filing your taxes as a dual citizen is the difference between UK and U.S. tax years. The UK tax year starts on April 6 and ends on April 5 of the following year. In contrast, the U.S. tax year starts on January 1 and ends on December 31 of the same year.
In filing for U.S. federal taxes, there are steps you must follow. The crucial step is to get forms and receipts showing your earnings as well as the tax-deductible expenses you paid before starting your application. You can begin your British tax filing (self-assessment tax return) if:
- You are self-employed
- Are not self-employed – but are receiving income from renting out a property.
If you are confused about how to file your taxes or want to know more about tax filing, reach out to a legal professional.
Simply yes. The easiest way to get triple citizenship is if you are connected to multiple citizens who automatically grant citizenship through birth.
Being born in the U.S. automatically qualifies you as an American citizen. If you have one British parent and another Canadian national, you can become a triple citizen. You have to claim citizenship by birth in all three countries.
Another way to obtain triple citizenship is through naturalization. However, not every country allows dual or multiple citizenships.